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Old 11-25-2010, 04:39 PM   #1
ILuvIPA
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Default Choosing a refractometer

Have been researching web & reading on the forum but no LHBS where I can actually put my hands on one. I know I want a model that has temp correction. Not sure about the following:

Price range? $39 on sale up to $100+. . .are the pricey ones worth the green? Accuracy? Quality?

Scale? Brix only or both brix + og scale. Sounds like a good idea to have both but is the dual scale harder to read? I'll be using it with bifocals if that makes any dif.

Range? Seems the choice is 0-20 vs. 0-30. Most of my brewing is 1.040 - 1.075 although on occasion I will do a "10-100" imperial something or other. While the 0-30 brix scale would be handy I'm wondering if the 0-20 is a lot easier to read? (see question above re. glasses/small numbers.)

Appreciate any real-world wisdom from you guys using these things. Thinking there just may be a few sale prices this weekend.



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Old 11-25-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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I love my refractometer on brewday. I have had it for about 3 years.
0-30, brix scale only (stick a note on the wall with a conversion scale no need to have the scale in the sight). Bought on Ebay much like this
http://cgi.ebay.com/Brix-Refractometer-0-32-ATC-Fruit-Juic-Wine-Sugar-Test-/290471681657?pt=BI_Cellular_Optical_Television_Tes t_Equipment&hash=item43a1761e79



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Old 11-25-2010, 05:11 PM   #3
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Doh. . . don't know why I hadn't even looked on ebay (and I just bought 2 eveready bench cappers last week on th'bay.)

Yeah, I'm kind of leaning toward the brix only. I don't know if this is true but seems like it may be easier to read accurately with only 1 scale. Also, according to the MoreBeer site, all dual scale on the market today use the simply linear conversion (x4) which means they have the conversion error above 1.040 or so. If there is a difference in being able to read it I think I'd prefer "easy to see" vs. an inaccurate conversion scale. But. . .that's just what I've read.

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:15 PM   #4
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I got my 32 Brix with ATC on ebay for cheap. When it showed up from Hong Kong, I figured that I got ripped off, but the thing has been great!

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:27 PM   #5
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Has anyone had the opportunity to use both a low dollar and a more expensive model? I know with most stuff you get what you pay for. But I'm wondering what the dif might be between an entry price vs the $100+ "pro" versions.

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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Also, just out of curiosity, but how are these calibrated? We use a refractometer for our marine aquariums, and have two calibration fluids (one at 1.000 and one at 1.030 I believe, because supposedly there's some inaccuracies using just the 1.000). Works great for us, but I think it tops out around 1.045 or something. Just curious.

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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you can calibrate it to 1.000 (or 0 brix) using distilled water

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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Is it true that a refractometer can only be used with non-fermented wort as the alcohol will throw the readings off?
I've wanted to get one myself but can seem to stomach the cost of one for only checking the OG, and still having to use a hydrometer to check the FG. Maybe I'm missing something important here...

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beninan View Post
Is it true that a refractometer can only be used with non-fermented wort as the alcohol will throw the readings off?
I've wanted to get one myself but can seem to stomach the cost of one for only checking the OG, and still having to use a hydrometer to check the FG. Maybe I'm missing something important here...
There's are conversion tables for using them post (or during) fermentation....

Morebeer.com has one somewhere on their website.

They are helpful for all-grain brewers who want to check their gravities multiple times during the process.

IMO they don't replace a hydrometer, they augment them.
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Old 11-25-2010, 05:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ_IPA View Post
There's are conversion tables for using them post (or during) fermentation....

Morebeer.com has one somewhere on their website.

They are helpful for all-grain brewers who want to check their gravities multiple times during the process.

IMO they don't replace a hydrometer, they augment them.
ah I see. thanks!


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